Bishop Gregory Urges Action to Protect Religious Liberty

22 February 2012
Prot. No. 134/1/12

Dear Brother Priests, Deacons/Subdeacons, Monks, Sisters, Faithful of the Eparchy and Friends:

On February 3, 2012, I wrote to all of you the following:
“There can no longer be any doubt that religious liberty in our country is in jeopardy. On January 20, 2012, the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) with the approval of President Obama issued a new federal mandate making coverage of all abortive drugs, sterilization, and FDA-approved contraceptives obligatory for virtually all employees, including those working in faith-based institutions.
The new mandate is the first federal regulation in our nation’s history to require all religious institutions to pay for this coverage. Now nearly all those who provide insurance must comply. To force people to provide these mandated services that violates both their faith conviction and their freedom is just not right in the land of the free!” (see http://stmaron.org/blog/)”

Now brothers and sisters, President Obama has recently made a much publicized “compromise”. However, this is no real compromise, for the burden of responsibility has simply shifted from employers to insurance companies to provide these services “for free.” In our case, some of these
insurance companies are owned and operated by the Church so that we may insure ourselves. By continuing this insistence on this mandate, the Administration has ignored the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States and has decided what is good for us, whether we agree or not, whether it violates our conscience or not. (See article by Anne McGuire attached).

Please visit http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/religious-liberty/conscience-protection/ to learn more about this mandate, which is not only a blow to religious liberty, but also an unnecessary entry of government into the free exercise of religion and conscience, and what we can do about it. With gratitude for your collaboration in this very important matter and with every good wish, I am

Yours in Christ,
+Gregory John Mansour